Please don’t let you or your family become a Carbon Monoxide statistic!
“The Silent Killer” Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, invisible, tasteless gas that kills over 400 Americans every year and injures 20,000 more.
CO is a produced anytime a fuel is burned–gas, propane or oil furnaces, water heaters, stoves and ovens,space heaters, clothes dryers, barbecue grills, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, generators, and car exhaust fumes. Often, a blocked chimney or chimney flue is the reason carbon monoxide does not exit a home.
CO poisoning is more prevalent in winter months when houses are sealed up and wall heaters, fireplaces, gas appliances are used or motor vehicles are warmed up longer without enough ventilation. Early symptoms include complaints of headache (sometimes severe), and lethargy and sleepiness and can be confused for flu symptoms, but strike everyone in a household at once.
Nearly all residential housing units (single family, duplex, townhomes, multi-family), need to install CO detection to come into compliance with NYS law. The area of the bedrooms can be a good place to put your CO detector as the majority of CO deaths occur when people are sleeping.
It is important to place your CO detector where it can be heard over normal background noise and potential sound barriers like closed bedroom doors. People become very drowsy from CO poisoning and may be difficult to wake up.
Older homes must have at least one CO detector in each dwelling unit – located on the lowest level of the home containing a sleeping area. This unit can be battery operated, plug-in, or hard wired, and you should follow the manufacturer’s specifications to help you place the unit. Units should not be placed in garages, bathrooms, or mechanical rooms or near the openings into these areas to avoid false alarms.
If you have a home constructed after January 1, 2008, you will need to place CO detectors on each level of the home containing a sleeping area, as well as on each level of the home that contains a potential CO source. In these newer homes, CO detectors must be hard wired – and where more than one unit is required to be installed, they must be interconnected so that the activation of any unit sets off the entire system of CO alarms. Again, avoid placing CO units in garages, bathrooms, or mechanical rooms or near the openings into these areas–fire and rescue officials at fire scenes often find CO and smoke alarms disabled because they are “annoying”.
And, while CO Alarms may alert dwelling occupants to a fire, they are not a substitute for working smoke detectors. You should install and regularly test both types.
Any fire department or code compliance officer can advise you about the requirements for your home. Carbon Monoxide detectors and chimney cleaning and inspection would be a great gift for family or friends, along with reflective address signs and first aid kits–both available from TIERS.